winter maintenance featured

Winter is here!  Before you hunker down for the season and vow to stay indoors until Spring, you’ll want to check out these winter maintenance tips.  It’s especially important to take care of your home this season to avoid any nasty surprises when the warm weather returns.  What can you do to help protect your home from the elements?  Read on for our 7 important winter maintenance tips.

 

Winterize Patio Furniture & Garden Tools

Winterize Patio Furniture & Garden ToolsPhoto: thinkstock.com

Protect your patio furniture and garden tools to keep them in good working order when the nice weather returns.  Wipe down your patio furniture, and stack and store it in a clean, dry place out of the elements.  If you’re stuck for space, you can simply cover your outdoor furniture with pre-made covers or a tarp, to offer it some protection from the snow and ice.  You’ll want to store and cover your garden tools, too.  But before you put that lawn mower away, drain the oil and take the waste to your local hazardous waste disposal center.  Oil in unused tools gets sludgy, making the engine work harder, and your lawn mower less efficient.

 

Stock Up on Shovels and Salt

Stock Up on Shovels and SaltPhoto: thinkstock.com

Don’t wait for a storm to hit to stock up on salt and shovels.  Instead, store a shovel and salt in your garage to be prepared for the winter weather.  You’ll want to keep your salt in sealed buckets off the floor to ensure it’s dry and ready to use when needed.  If you use a snowblower, ensure it always has a good supply of gas in the tank for an unexpected dumping of snow.

 

Move Snow Away from Foundation

Move Snow Away from FoundationPhoto: thinkstock.com

Repairing foundation damage on your home can be extremely expensive.  Removing excess water, and keeping it away from your house is one of the best ways to prevent cracks and damages.  Since snow will eventually melt, you’ll want to shovel it away from your home’s foundation in order to prevent potential flooding and water damage.  Pay particular attention to areas that are more prone to damage and leaks, like basement windows and concrete steps.

 

Remove Ice and Snow from Gutters

Remove Ice and Snow from GuttersPhoto: thinkstock.com

When the temperature drops, it’s easy to ignore the ice and snow that’s piling up in your gutters, or on a low-pitched roof.  But, overlooking this job in favor of warming up inside could have some serious consequences when the weather changes.  In the spring, ice dams that were left unchecked will melt - and that could cause damage to roof shingles, and allow water to penetrate your foundation.  Taking the time to ice and snow from your gutters now, can save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

 

Clear Snow Away from External Vents

Clear Snow Away from External VentsPhoto: thinkstock.com

If ice and snow blocks external vents, it may cause damage to your roof.  However, that’s not the biggest potential concern.  Vents that are covered by excess snow and ice may prevent your home from properly heating and cooling throughout the season.  This puts added pressure on your heating system, and can lead to moisture problems in your home’s structure, like mold or rot.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a shovel or brush to clear off any snow that’s accumulated around your external vents, and chip away at any already formed ice.

 

Use a Runner

Use a RunnerPhoto: thinkstock.com

When it comes to the inside of your home, adding a runner or large mat to your front entranceway can help to prevent the wet, mushy snow from making its way through your home.  Ensuring you have a place for coats, mittens and other cold weather accessories near high traffic entry points can also help cut down on extra mess this season, from all of that snow, ice, and salt.

 

Replace Furnace Filters

Replace Furnace FiltersPhoto: thinkstock.com

As a general rule, to keep your furnace running efficiently you need to change the filters every three months.  Your furnace filters collect airborne dust, debris, and other allergens in the air - and a dirty filter means your furnace has to work twice as hard to push out heat.  Winter is not the time to put added strain on your central heating system, so be sure to check your filter and change it as recommended by the manufacturer.